While we’ve been waiting on pins and needles to see if Mahindra & Mahindra may actually comes out as the chief OEM investor in NEVS, there’s a piece on Bloomberg that claims they’re also looking at buying up Pininfarina. You’ll remember that the Italian design firm also employed Jason Castriota not so long ago. Might we live in a world with an Italian designed, Swedish engineered and produced, Indian owned car maker?
DI.se is the only source of this piece of News, so don’t get too excited about it, but this could be the missing link in the whole NEVS story.
Saab’s new major shareholder Kai Johan Jiang said at Wednesday’s press conference that the owner company Nevs secured financing of 7 billion Crowns to manufacture and develop electric cars.
7 billion Crowns are about 997 Million USD, so it is a big amount of money. But it won’t last forever, so they will have to sell cars to keep Saab afloat, and maybe they won’t be able to sell enough EV’s
A story has surfaced today about Mahindra and the possibility of them maybe changing their mind about placing a bid. I will stress that we do not know in any way if this is credible at all as the story comes from another un-named source to Di. I have never been a fan of this kind of reporting because we have no idea who is talking to Di, if they are credible at all or if they are just someone looking to stir things up and too often we have seen stories like this to not be fact at all.
As we are all puzzled by the latest news on the Youngman bid and confused by what to and not to believe, now seems like a great time to look at another player and their bid for Saab. Mahindra & Mahindra have been the quiet seeker of Saab and we’ll take a moment to look into who they are.
You have to look no further then their website to find out where they came from. They talk about how Mahindra and an independent India began their rise together. In 1945 two brothers, J.C. and K.C. Mahindra joined forces with Ghulam Mohammed and started the Mahindra and Mohammed steel company in Mumbai. Two years later the Mahindra brothers decided to manufacture Willy’s jeeps in Mumbai when India got their independence and Ghulam Mohammed left and they became Mahindra and Mahindra.
When you do some digging, you come across many companies and many different areas where Mahindra has a presence. It is eye opening to say the least to see just how many areas they are involved in.
Systech is a part of the Mahindra Group and is one that catches my attention for many reasons. Their website says “Come Innovate and Create” and “one stop shop -art to part- design to delivery” all things that get me thinking and excited because that is the way to produce so that you don’t have to worry about supplier issues because you are your supplier. This is the kind of thinking that would solve a lot of issues that Saab has seen and with the Sytech model of design to delivery if put in place at Saab, you could see a self sufficient company.
In 2011 Ssangyoung Motor Company joined Mahindra & Mahindra. This South Korean company has a presence in more than 90 countries and employs more than 4,800 people. The company is said to be focused on strengthening their global presence by producing environmentally friendly engines and have plans to strengthen their global distribution network in the next few years. Ssangyoung has a number of vehicles offered including the Korando which is a contraction of “Korea can do”.
You can check their website for more of their offerings. Personally, I quite like the look of the Korando.
Automotive companies of Mahindra include:
- Mahindra & Mahindra Automotive Division– The flagship of the company and market leaders of automotive and farm equipment.
- Mahindra Graphic Research Design– Based out of Italy, this is the design hub that is responsible for designing the brand image. Clients include Fiat and Honda Europe.
- Mahindra Navistar Automotive– Joint venture with Navistar (USA) for creating light commercial and heavy commercial vehicles for Indian terrain.
- Mahindra Navistart Engines– Joint venture with Navistar (USA) to produce diesel engines for commercial vehicles in India.
- Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles– Mahindra acquired a majority stake in Reva in 2010 and aims to have the lowest dust to dirt carbon footprint in the automotive world. Click the link to read about their plans for the factory, really cool.
- Mahindra Vehicle Manufacturers– Set up in 2007 to push technology to the edge and has the capacity to build 3.2 million vehicles per year.
- Ssangyong Motor Company– Acquired in 2011.
Mahindra Auto January sales numbers look great too. Auto numbers are up 22% from 36718 January 2011 to 44717 January 2012. YTD for 2011 was 348,440 in automotive sales 156,547 in passenger vehicles alone.
Mahindra is involved in aerospace, agribusiness, automotive, components, construction equipment, consulting, defense, energy, farm equipment, finance and insurance, industrial equipment, information technology, hospitality, logistics, real estate, retail and bikes and scooters and is a company that is always moving forward and looking at ways to be better.
Below is community initiatives from Wikipedia on Mahindra:
The Mahindra Group is extensively involved in philanthropy and volunteering. It is considered an active participant in the Indian Corporate Social Responsibility field and received the Pegasus Award for CSR in 2007. Mahindra engages in philanthropy primarily through the KC Mahindra Trust, which serves as the CSR arm of the group (although many subsidiaries have their own CSR initiatives, notably Tech Mahindra and Mahindra Satyam). Founded in 1953 by K.C Mahindra, the trust focuses primarily on fostering literacy in India and promoting higher learning through grants and scholarships. Mahindra operates several vocational schools as well as the Mahindra United World College. The KC Mahindra Trust’s primary project however is Project Nanhi Kali, which targets the education of young Indiangirls. The foundation currently supports the education of approximately 51000 underprivileged girls. Other initiatives include Mahindra Hariyali (a 1 million tree planting campaign) as well as sponsorship of the Lifeline Express, a mobile hospital train. Mahindra employees also plan and lead their own service projects through Mahindra’s Employee Social Options Plans. In 2009, more than 35,000 employees participated. 
Mahindra also supports the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards to recognize Indian theater talent, the Mahindra Indo-American Film Festival, and the Mahindra Lucknow Festival. In 2011, it held the first annual Mahindra Blues Festival with guests like Buddy Guy, Johnny Lang, and Shemekia Copeland. Mahindra also partners with the NBA and Celtic Football Club to bring grassroots basketball and soccer to India.
In 2011 Mahindra had revenues of 14.5 billion US and a work force of 144,000 worldwide and were listed as #21 in a list of top companies of India in Fortune India 500 in 2011. I’m sure there is so much more to write about Mahindra and the companies they own and I would if I had the time. From what I have found in my searches of this company, I would say it is easy to see that they would be a great fit for Saab as they understand the industry and the people. I am not endorsing anyone because none of us no how this will look in the end, but I will say that I like what I see and hear from Mahindra and I have provided a lot of different links in this post for you to check things for yourselves.
If in the end Mahindra is the winner, I will not be sad, I will be excited to see what they bring and how they let Saab be Saab.